The mouse may sometimes help the lion in need is one of the proverbs quoted before the prologue and beautifully sums up the ethos of this story.
Fleur Hitchcock is a master of mystery writing and involving the reader to solve clues along with the characters. Mouse Heart is no different and expertly weaves costumes, props and a close-knit cast into a captivating story for children, while holding adult interest too.
Young Mouse’s experience of vile-villains, sword fighting and outwitting deadly assassins are purely staged at first; all part of the daily performances put on by her adopted theatre family. When drama and reality suddenly collide, Mouse is caught up in a tangle of confusion, secrets and mistaken identities.
The Moth theatre setting could double for the Globe and there’s more than a hint of Shakespearian theatrics, transposed to Bristol and the fictional 18th century reign of Queen Anne. The Conte de Monte Cristo’s plight comes to mind with a wrongful imprisonment and occurrence of several gruesome murders – not for the faint-hearted!
Mouse may be small, but she is a fierce detective, determined to prove her friend, Walter, is innocent of murder. Persevering against all odds, Mouse is forced to challenge what she thinks she knows about her friends and fellow cast members. Naïve to the dark goings-on in an adult world, nothing stops her curiosity in pursuit of the truth.
As readers, we are right there with Mouse. Experiencing every heart-stopping moment, daring stunt and bright idea. An edge-of-your seat adventure to the final page.
Reviewer: Kate Spurrier